The magpies chatter like gunfire. A rusty hinge screeches across his mind with the fury of a bandsaw. The ragged breathing of the couple next door, bed knocking against the wall like an angry fist on the door. The TV dead channel roars, bus exhausts choke like a volcano belching, children outside scream like harpies.
He pulls the new device out of his ear and shakes his head. “I’d rather be deaf,” he says with his hands.